Tuesday, 3 May 2011

How many adults have autism in the UK?

A very brief post this one following the publication yesterday of this new study looking at the prevalence of autism in adults. The same group were also involved in this research on adult prevalence based on self-reported data. The new study took it one stage further and actually screened and assessed cases for autism spectrum disorder using things like ADOS. Importantly none of those found to present with autism had been evaluated for or received an autism diagnosis previously.

The results: an estimated weighted prevalence of 9.8 per 1000 (approaching 1% of the population) in people 16 years+ living in the UK. This figure is fairly close to the contemporary estimates for autism prevalence in children. There was also a significant difference between estimated prevalence rates in men (18.2 per 1000) and women (2 per 1000) which potentially ties into the debate on underdiagnosis in females.

I am sure this will generate quite a lot of discussion on issues like the under-diagnosis of autism in adults and notions of an increasing prevalence of autism spectrum conditions. I will perhaps go into the findings in greater detail in future posts.